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Two Car Bombs Kill at Least 34 in Iraq


Two car bombings killed at least 34 people in Iraq on Monday.

In one of the attacks, a suicide bomber killed at least 24 Shi'ite militiamen near Jurf al-Sakhar, a town government forces say they had recaptured from Islamic State militants.

The blast Monday, which occurred at a security checkpoint outside Jurf al-Sakhar, wounded another 25. The attacker was driving a Humvee vehicle packed with explosives.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Sunday that recapturing

Jurf al-Shakhar, Iraq
Jurf al-Shakhar, Iraq

Jurf-al-Sakhar, located about 50 kilometers south of Baghdad, was a "fatal blow" against the Islamic State group.

On Monday night, a car bomb explosion killed at least 10 people in central Baghdad in a neighborhood filled with shops and restaurants. Another 18 were injured.

The U.S. military says it launched 11 airstrikes in Syria and Iraq in the past day. Four of the attacks were near Kobani, the Syrian town where Islamic State militants and Kurdish fighters have been fighting just south of the Turkish border.

The Sunni extremists had held the town since July.

Assad action claimed

Meanwhile, Syria's state news agency SANA reported on Monday that the government was providing military support to Kurdish forces to help them battle Islamic State fighters.

The action, if true, would mean President Bashar al-Assad and his Western enemies could be backing the same forces against Islamist militants.

The main Syrian Kurdish party, which has repeatedly denied that it has cooperated with the Damascus government, described the report as propaganda.

SANA said that the aid included direct and indirect military support but did not say which groups were recipients or when Damascus last sent military aid to Kurds.

Fighting in Kobani

Meanwhile, Islamic State militants continue to clash with Kurdish fighters in the northern Syrian town of Kobani in a battle that has stretched on for six weeks just south of the Turkish border.

The U.S. military also said Monday it launched 11 airstrikes in Syria and Iraq in the past day. Four of the attacks were near Kobani.

Smoke could be seen rising from Kobani again Monday.

Fighting has intensified since Sunday night between Islamic State militants and fighters of the Kurdish militias. There has been mortar, heavy machine-gun fire and lighter gun fire.

The point of contention continues to be the border crossing to Turkey, which is where reinforcements are due to cross sometime today (Monday). But sources inside Kobani, speaking by telephone, told VOA there has been fighting on three sides of the city overnight - to the east, the south and the west.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors violence in Syria, said more than 800 people have died in ground fighting in Kobani, including nearly 500 militants and more than 300 Kurds.

That is in addition to more than 550 who have been killed by American-led airstrikes, most of them Islamic State insurgents.

The Kurdish forces are expecting the arrival of peshmerga forces from Iraq's Kurdistan region, who could join the battle in Kobani as early as this week.

Scott Bobb contributed to this report from Turkey. Some materiafor this report came from Reuters.

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